A lot of you might not know this, but Kurt Cobain was the lead singer/guitar player for a band called Nirvana. Nirvana achieved a moderate amount of success in the 90's and Fender has decided to commemorate the achievements of the late Cobain with a thoughtful and meticulous reissue of his 1965 Jaguar, one of the few guitars he didn't destroy.
Kurt Cobain Jaguar
UG Team, on november 09, 2012 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Due to it being a tribute guitar, there are quite a few nice features. There's the Road-Worn aged finish and hardware treatment, which we'll get to in a minute, it has a Strat headstock, a very unique pickup wiring configuration (see the video), a really nice black textured vinyl hardshell case, and an exclusive book featuring photography by Charles Peterson and an exclusive interview with Nirvana's guitar tech. You also have the option of going with a lefty model, which is the only Jag Fender currently offers in that orientation. Sadly though, these features come at a price, which is $1299 retail, and almost $1900 list. For a Mexican-made guitar, that's kind of outrageous. // 8
Sound: The combination of the DiMarzio humbuckers and the interesting wiring schematic gives this a wholly unique sound. There isn't another Fender that can do anything quite like it. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the player. It sure doesn't have a 'Fender' sound to it but that may be part of the attraction for some. I'd say the DiMarzio's give it a little more sustain than the company's usual signature guitars and it's versatile enough where you can push some different types of distortion besides the grunge factor. Check out the video for sound examples. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: I'm a little conflicted about grading a relic guitar's finish because it's, obviously, supposed to look like it's in pretty rough shape. It's not as if Fender is new to this kind of thing (see the Road-Worn series) but what they did with this model is particularly impressive. You can tell that a tremendous amount of detail was given to every aspect of the build, they even jammed dirt into the grooves of the pickup screws. Despite everything they've done to make the guitar look completely beat up, it still plays and feels like a new guitar. Part of this effect I attribute to the fact that the neck has a super bright, white binding. Still, as far as mass-produced relic jobs go, it's the best one I've seen.
Playability-wise, it's exactly what we've all come to expect from any Mexican-made Fender, which is 'pretty-good-not-great'. The dings on the back of the neck do nothing to slow it down. I'm still giving it a 9 just because the relic is that good. // 9
Reliability & Durability: The best thing about having a relic-ed guitar is that you don't really need to worry too much about dinging it up. It feels very sturdy and the quality of the components is obvious. The Fender textured vinyl hardshell case is one of the best in the business so you can gig it with confidence. // 9
Overall Impression: I've never been the biggest fan of paying up to have a guitar look like it's been beat up. It seems like cheating, and believe me I've never had any problems when it comes to systematically ruining the finish on a guitar. However, this being a 'tribute' and not just a run-of-the-mill Road-Worn, there's a little more to it. Rightfully so, a lot of people will balk at the price-tag for a Mexican-produced guitar (especially when the country of origin is possibly the only inaccuracy from the original), but after picking it up and playing it, it feels like it's priced about right. Philosophically, you may or may not have an issue with Fender making a few bucks off a dead rock star who almost certainly would not have enthusiastically endorsed such a product, but I think they did a pretty tasteful job. Or at least slightly more tasteful than say... I don't know... Publishing his diary or something. // 8
Kurt Cobain Jaguar
HüskerDüde, on november 09, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 824.48
Purchased from: Twin Town Guitars - Minneapolis, MN
Features: Exact identical replica of Kurt's main guitar during the "Nevermind" era. It has been cited as "the most important and notable instrument in Nirvana's history".
A classic DiMarzio Super Distortion on the bridge. DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary on the neck. Both very highly acclaimed and respected pickups and they're the two that were in the original Jaguar. Big fat neck with a binding and a Stratocaster style headstock with spaghetti logo. Very physically heavy instrument, almost as heavy as a Les Paul. My Stratocaster feels like a toy next to it.
One volume and tone control when the strangle switch is not engaged, two volume and one tone when it is engaged. I always appreciate having two volumes and two tones whenever I can so this is a bit limiting when that capacitor is not engaged, but it's true to the replica so therefore it's not an issue. // 10
Sound: Be aware that the Super Distortion has a lot of low end. I'm used to bridge humbuckers being more mid-heavy such as on my SG. My complaint here is that when the strangle switch is not engaged (when it's clicked upwards) there's very little tonal variety between the bridge and rhythm pickups, which is odd. It's because the Super Distortion is so bassy and the PAF is going to be bassy anyway due to its position. You'll need a good amplifier to distinguish between the two and how the PAF is slightly more open and clear while the Super Distortion is just a little more immediate.
With the switch engaged (clicked downwards) they become very very distinct. The PAF sounds more like a single-coil neck pickup, bright and jangly, and the Super Distortion just gets really ballsy. It gets very biting and aggressive. You can get thrash and black metal tones, chugga chugga punk pop tones, ripping leads, etc.
To me it seems like you can basically leave it on the Super Distortion at all times and use the strangle switch to go between warm and bright instead of changing pickups. The PAF is a very nice sounding humbucker though. I just wish the Super Distortion was a little bit less bassy because it makes riffs sound a bit boomy and muddy - think of the sound you get when playing through a Big Muff on high gain through a rhythm pickup. It's sludgy and heavy but not very articulate. True to form, it is a very grungy tone. Thankfully this can be tweaked instantly by hitting the strangle switch for someone interested in playing faster leads.
One curiosity to note is that it has two tone controls - one for when the strangle switch is on and one for when it's off - but the one for when the strangle switch is on works when it's off as well, although in a different way from the one intended for when it's off. Confusing? They both do separate things. The tone dial that is the silver knob by the cable jack removes highs, some lows, and keeps mids. The one that is the sideways black knob on the top wing of the guitar cuts highs and drastically cuts volume. I find this knob to basically be useless and I always use the silver one by the jack.
I currently play in a dark electric folk group and I've just done a few gigs with it and been very satisfied after previously using a Stratocaster which is basically the king of tonal variety. I wouldn't have bought this if it couldn't get many tones. I can be jangly, mellow, bright, loud, aggressive, all very quickly. I'm not in to one-dimensional guitars that can only achieve one sound, which might be a stigma about this guitar. It's more tonally diverse than you might think. It just has a lot of quirks to figure out but once you understand them you can get a surprising amount of tones for a guitar with two humbuckers. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: I bought it used and it looks like it had been set up. I played a new one as well and the action was uncomfortably high. A lot of well known guitarists like Stevie Ray and J Mascis prefer high action though. Mine has action at a decent height and was intonated well. Everything seems to be set up in a solid way. I was hesitant because it is made in Mexico and although I absolutely love my 1994 MIM Stratocaster to death I'm always a little wary of the quality control. I like that it has the Tune-O-Matic bridge because you don't have to worry about the strings jumping the saddle - I tested out a Blacktop Jazzmaster (MIM as well) and its old-school style bridge was an absolute atrocity. I've been using the tremolo arm a lot which can sound very nice but does have a tendency to send it slightly out of tune so be careful when you use it - the tiniest amount of pressure will provide a nice little bend. No need to press very firmly at all. // 8
Reliability & Durability: The worn finish on this guitar was appealing to me because I don't feel bad thrashing around on it. I don't like new glossy instruments. This is made to be grunged with. Keep in mind that Kurt had a personal guitar tech around him at all times so that's why he was able to play so hard - this isn't some indestructible guitar or anything, but it is very solid. // 8
Overall Impression: I understand that this is one of the higher quality instruments from the Mexican factory. A few people have told me that with this instrument, the fact that it was made there is basically entirely irrelevant. The replica job on it is stunning. I bought this from a store that had two of them in and I compared them and they looked identical. The pickups are even slightly rusted and everything.
I had a PRS SE Custom stolen from me and got $400 from the insurance company (ALWAYS INSURE YOUR GUITARS). I was in the market for a used 62 AVRI Jazzmaster in sunburst but I figured I'd be waiting an eternity before one turned up in my area for less than $1000. I had to have an offset guitar. This was used at a local store for $900 and one random day they had a sale and I got $75 off it. It was hard to convince myself to pay so much for a guitar that wasn't American made but that's largely irrelevant since the replica job was done by the best people at Fender and the electronics are DiMarzios - that's the main thing. A lot of people buy MIMs and replace the electronics with American pickups so it's essentially an American, but this has aftermarket pickups on it anyway so where it's made is much less relevant.
I would say in many aspects it sits between a Fender and a Gibson. Fender feel and look, near-Les Paul tone. Lots of low end but with the flick of a switch it can get bright and go from jangly to aggressive. Yes, Nirvana are one of my favorite bands, but this is more than a collector's item. I wouldn't pay so much money for an instrument that doesn't actually serve many purposes. Even someone who isn't a big Nirvana fan should be able to appreciate this due to its iconic DiMarzio pickups paired with the Jaguar electronics which give a truly impressive amount of tones. // 9
Kurt Cobain Jaguar
unregistered, on november 09, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 960
Purchased from: guitar village
Features: I bought this guitar as I am a huge Nirvana fan, and for years of playing have never quite been able to find that true Nirvana sound. This guitar does that! The price initially put me off, as it seemed crazy for a Mexican made Fender (although the factories are around 100 miles apart). This guitar is the real deal, when it arrived all the thoughts about the cost rescinded as a massive smile filled my face. Every nick and knock that Cobain's Jaguar had is there. It is like a master ART fake. I love it! // 10
Sound: The guitar is so versatile. It will do grunge amazingly, but I have been able to get good blues, metal and all else I have tried to play on it. I also own a Gibson Les Paul, but this guitar is so much better. It has so many different depths and dimensions. The after market pickups combined with the intricate wiring really make this guitar stand out from anything that Fender have ever done. In fairness it is hardly a Fender. Probably what would happen if Fender and Gibson got it on. The guitar has so many different tones. I've run it through a black heart little giant thus far, looking forward to trying it on my big Marshall cabs. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The finish is amazing, Not because it looks brand new, but because of the sheer craftsmanship to reproduce Kurt's guitar. I loved it that my mates wife (a take that fan) asked me if I was going to take it back as it looked damaged. Action seems fine. Even came downtuned. I have put some Dean Markley 10-52 gauge on for a true sound. // 10
Reliability & Durability: If Kurt's stood live playing this should do it! Feels solidly made. The toggles feel more secure than on a Mustang. // 10
Overall Impression: I play a bit of everything, I have been playing 16 years now, and like to play anything that is a challenge. My heart is in grunge hence buying this guitar, but it does so much more! If it were stolen I would replace it then use the replacement to kill the thieving git that pinched it. I just love how authentic this is. What really surprised me though is you can play anything on this, from Clapton, Slash, Mustaine, right down to Stevie Ray Vaughan. This guitar represents the Legend that Kurt Cobain was. Don't be put off by the price tag, far more meaty than a Strat and more versatile than my Les Paul. This is one of two guitars I own that I will ever part with. // 10